pp. 379-381

The Conceit of Humanitarian Intervention, Rajan Menon

Reviewed by Eric A. Heinze

BUY

   Facebook

   Twitter

   E-mail
 

There are few subjects that have received as much attention as humanitarian intervention in the study of international relations since the end of the Cold War. While military campaigns aimed at halting mass atrocities abroad have their share of supporters and critics in both the policy and scholarly communities, Rajan Menon’s book, The Conceit of Humanitarian Intervention, is a particularly critical analysis of this controversial subject. Menon’s argument is that the moral fervor that animates supporters of humanitarian intervention leads them toward an unwarranted confidence in the rightness of their cause that not only results in paradoxical outcomes but also entails a good bit of hypocrisy, historical amnesia, and even bad faith.

For Menon, the moral consensus on which these policies of humanitarian intervention are based is extremely weak, and so, then, is the alleged commitment to take action to end such atrocities. The episodic practice of humanitarian intervention thus vindicates the realist view of world politics, in which the decisive factor driving state policy is promoting national interests, not upholding universal moral principles. As a result, Menon argues, efforts to try to forge such a consensus and articulate criteria for responding to mass atrocities—such as the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) principle—are unl

To continue reading, see options above.

More by This Author

About PSQ's Editor

Demetrios James Caraley

Full Access

Join the Academy of Political Science and automatically receive Political Science Quarterly.

From the Archives

North Korea

North Korea's Weapons of Mass Destruction: Badges, Shields, or Swords?

Victor D. Cha examines the question about relative merits of engaging or containing North Korea.

MORE ABOUT THIS TOPIC

Search the Archives

Publishing since 1886, PSQ is the most widely read and accessible scholarly journal with distinguished contributors such as: Lisa Anderson, Robert A. Dahl, Samuel P. Huntington, Robert Jervis, Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Theda Skocpol, Woodrow Wilson

view additional issues

New APS Book

Continuing Issues in U.S. National Security Policy   CONTINUING ISSUES IN U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY POLICY

Most read

Articles | Book reviews

Understanding the Bush Doctrine
Robert Jervis

The Study of Administration
Woodrow Wilson

Notes on Roosevelt's "Quarantine" Speech
Dorothy Borg

view all

About US

Academy of Political Science

The Academy of Political Science, promotes objective, scholarly analyses of political, social, and economic issues. Through its conferences and publications APS provides analysis and insight into both domestic and foreign policy issues.

Political Science Quarterly

With neither an ideological nor a partisan bias, PSQ looks at facts and analyzes data objectively to help readers understand what is really going on in national and world affairs.

Stay Connected
newsstand locator
About APS